Sunday, November 22, 2015

November 22, 2015

Well, the Etsy shop will be at over 100 items sometime tomorrow. I have chores to do (always gonna be chores on a homestead). Wood needs cutting for the pile, trash burnt, cat boxes cleaned, dishes caught up, laundry put up. Plans are made for holiday chores next weekend. Looking forward to a short week at the plant (three days) and a long holiday weekend to work on things at home. I am feeling quite contented. Hoping to catch up on some of my shows on mu Hulu queue tomorrow night and over next weekend as well, plus might finally get that darned MAM afghan I started a year ago finished. I need more time than I have for everything, but the more I do on the business, the more it does and the more it does, the sooner things move to me working only from home and having even more time for the things I enjoy doing most - homesteading and the business and writing. I am truly blessed to have the good life I have.

Oh and what is dinner for the big day, since we have no stove, you ask? Pork steaks (braised and seasoned - they are fork-tender when I am done), green beans, stuffing, mashed potatoes. Have to get gravy this week, forgot it at the store today. Maybe some cheese and pickles as well. Cats are getting turkey and giblets wet food for breakfast so they will sleep the day away.

Holiday chores include the usual daily and weekly stuff, but also finishing up consolidating to the living/dining/kitchen rooms in the trailer. As we will be living in a one-room cabin as of next year, with any luck, now is the time to learn to do it without killing each other if it is possible. If not, we learn that as well. I am pretty sure it can be done. We've managed for a few weeks now and haven't clobbered each other yet. Basically it will be taking the shelf and clothes bar we put up in the master bedroom closet (which had one but it was destroyed and didn't work at all) from in there and moving it to the kitchen wall so we can have a warmish place for clothes. The unused part of the house is so cold right now I can see my breath. All we use that end now is the bathroom!!! So we are doing good on the one-room cabin thing.

But right now it is time for this old gal to put things up, climb under the blankets and get some sleep for yet another second shift day tomorrow. Hugs and love, all!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

November 15, 2015

We have the generator in layaway at the pawnshop. We have the kero heater. We looked at small oil lamps we can hang up overhead today at Wally World, so the cats can't knock them over but we can have some light without running the generator. We know what the battery-operated fluorescent lights cost, because we have a couple already. We know how much it costs to get a Derksen cabin (it's just the shell, but it's a start) as a downpayment and what the monthly payments will be. We have an offer to share land with a young couple we know from work who call us Mom and Dad anyhow.
The electric here at the trailer we have been renting is for crap. We would still have no running water, but I've lived with that for 3 years and a little and used a sawdust toilet for the same amount of time. Mind, hubby would have to not be able to tape his wrestling for a month or two until we got a solar setup going to run the receive while we are at wok, but he could watch the clips online anyhow. Internet does not have to be powered 24/7 to work, just have to wait a few for the modem and router to come up when we get home and start up the generator...until the solar setup is going good, then the generator would be just for cooking with the microwave and running the fridge when we were home.
Looking like come spring, we and the cats will be in a 12x20 or so one-room cabin. We would need to figure out how to get packages delivered from UPS and FedEx, which does happen regularly for us, as there is no local UPS Store. PO Box for regular mail. What we pay now in rent and average electric would make the cabin payment, so that balances out; we would just have to figure out how to come up with our share of the land payment which would be about $150-200 a month.
Goodness knows, it would be insane, but a lot easier to deal with than this insanity of kludged up cords and only three working breakers in the whole house and tonight's little funfest of finding out a cord we've used since we moved in decided to start melting it's prongs. /THAT/ close to a house fire. Yes, that extension cord (a heavy-duty one) is unplugged ... no way are we risking a fire if it can be avoided. Good thing we check all plugs and outlets weekly, more often if we smell something as we did tonight. He smelled something burning/melting; I have no real sense of smell, but noticed an off taste to the air and we started checking all connections, which is when we found the near-disaster.
That was when we decided we need to discuss things in detail with Cara and Jesse and go from there. Time to pull together and get the heck out of this place before it collapses (some of the floors are just ridiculous with where you can and cannot walk), burns up or something else happens ridiculous. Moving upward and onward! Someone remind me again why I love homesteading???? Incidents like this give me pause and I wonder, "Why can't I be like a normal person, buy/rent a house or apartment in the city and call it done and be happy with that? Why in the blue blazes do I have to be DIFFERENT?!"
I'm not unhappy with my life choices, but times like this I sigh and either laugh it off with a cynical shake of my head, or hang my head and cry. Though hubby and I have an agreement. If something happens to him and the insurance is enough to allow it, I'm packing my happy butt up and moving back to Michigan. The winters there may be miserable at times, and I'd have to be "normal" about being on-grid and all for the most part, but I'd be close to family anyhow. Now to just work on surviving the winter, because if we get a lot of snow, that's a lot of walking up and down the mountain road. At least at Jesse and Cara's, there's only one small steep slope in and out, and it's paved, so as long as it's kept cleared, everyone can get in and out fine in bad weather. Individual drives are a pain but you have to deal with that anyhow.
I don't mind saying I'm scared by all of this, because I'm one of those people that is scared by major changes. I can adapt, but major change bothers me, probably because my childhood was so stable and rarely changed at all. I like things to stay the same as much as possible. One thing is for sure, that cabin would be getting a major makeover in no time flat, haha. As it's only a basic shell, you get to do all the insulating and paneling and wiring and plumbing ... Whew. LOTS of work.
For those who want to shop with me on Etsy or Amazon, the Homestead Crafter page on Facebook has links to both. Etsy has a tab, and there's a post with the Amazon link (the app to add the Amazon store as an app does not work, argh). I am slowly copying items over from Bonanza to either/both as they fit, so Etsy has about 55-60 items now and Amazon a bit less. Should have been doing this from the start!. As I find more goodies in my wholesalers, I will be adding things like yarn and beads for my crafty friends. I really need to get to the point of the Christmas stuff, but I'm so far behind on everything that is not going to happen this year, I don't think, unless i put off everything else, too. Kind of a six of one, half a dozen of another issue there, though I should work on it more as that might help with holiday sales (though no guarantee). Sleep tight, my friends! 

Friday, November 6, 2015

November 6, 2015

I really need to get back to blogging more often, ya know?

Good start to a crappy morning. I have my fun time before work (i.e., working on the store), my best girl kitty (Stars) is cuddled behind me on my chair with her head on my shoulder, attempting to purr me back to sleep somewhat successfully. I am now going to need caffeine to get rolling today. Work sucks as usual, due to the people i have to deal with. I like my job most days, but the people just plain suck. I need time off, but we work six days this week, and it's three weeks to Turkey Day, with likely at least one more week of half a weekend between now and then. I will be so darned glad when things take off, because then I can get the rest I need, still get so much accomplished, and make a living in about half the hours I spent making a living now. $45K a year or so in sales and the profits would be enough to make up for what I bring home now.  I have the numbers nailed to the floor. I just have to make it happen. A little tiny bit at a time, it is happening.

The decision was made on the store to keep it limited to home/garden decor, jewelry and crafts/supplies a long time ago. A new decision has been made which eliminated a few things from the shop ... the store is staying at or below $50 on anything that is sold. I think more folks will be able to afford things at that rate, and more will sell. Like the page, so you can see the new goodies! I do sell privately, not just through Bonanza, so if you see something you like and don't want to sign up for another site, PM me with a list of what you want, and I will send you a PayPal invoice. At least with PP you don't have to sign up for it to send money, it just helps, and most folks I know already have a PP account anyhow.

FB Page: Homestead Crafter on FB
Bonanza Booth so you can see what I have up ... getting more up as often as I can: Homestead Crafter/Bountiful Farm on Bonanza

Off to finish getting ready for work and to try to get a couple things up today before I absolutely HAVE to head out the door. Yet another reason I want my own car again ... it would mean an extra hour to work on the store each day before I had to leave for work!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

November 1, 2015

Today is going to be a quiet day. I am going to have to start writing more often again, as these last months with Grandma so ill have thrown me off-kilter pretty badly. Everything but work and housekeeping have suffered.

So things have been progressing on the homestead. I am now down to living in one room essentially. Three if you count the kitchen and bathroom as well. Heat is primarily off-grid now, with the addition of a kerosene heater. The floor in the master bedroom has developed a rather bad soft spot due to the neglect of the prior resident, to the point that the plywood floorboard has a bad soft spot with a serious crack in it. Step on that too much and I will likely go right through the floor. Thus, the three bedrooms are primarily storage now, which is fine. I don't have much I need available day-to-day, and it is now all consolidated into the living room for daily living (bed, small dresser, entertainment, water storage cabinet), the kitchen has the usual, and the bathroom ... well, we all know what goes on there, haha.

A small propane heater which works on the one-pound canisters heats up the bathroom for showers quite well. It is a bit chilly with that end closed off for "those" kinds of things, but as I am only in there for a few minutes at a time, it is no big deal.

The woodpile is getting higher a bit at a time, though I am reduced to what I can get with axe and saw for now. My little battery-operated chainsaw bit the dust and I have no one available to take down the really big stuff for now. But at least a lot of small stuff still burns and makes for a nice pile.

A storm/whole house generator has been put on layaway at a local pawn shop, with the goal to have it out and up here by Yuletide, before the deepest part of winter sets in. I can then entirely rid myself of the electric company and THAT bill, saving an average of $100 a month. With that, I can easily get a manual log-splitter, a new sewing machine that I desperately need, and a new chainsaw which I now desperately need. Once I can also add a smaller generator, I can add a decent-sized electric chainsaw which can run off the generator, and take down bigger trees myself for firewood, with the eventual addition of a woodstove.

The house is being prepped for winter. Those cheap $8 raschel plush throws make pretty and warm tapestries to go over the leaky windows. They block a lot of light, but light is not a worry. Keeping warm is. The cats don't seem to mind at all. They are all curled up all over the place, mostly on the bed and the top of the entertainment center.

The garden is pretty well done for the year. The house tomatoes are still going strong, blooming well and loaded with ripening fruits, but it will not be long before they are through for the year. The needlework is coming along, and now that I will have a bit more time on the weekends, with cooler weather setting in, I should do better on progress.

The store is doing well, as I switched to Bonanza for a sales platform. (You can check it out in the favorite links.) I will likely go with a webstore/booth combination through them after the start of the new year, but until then, the booth alone is doing pretty decently. I have had more sales there than I did with Etsy (which was ZERO in two years), and in only a couple of months. Lots of new things are going up, mostly premade, because with having to work, I simply do not have the time I need to make everything. It is all nice, but I do wish I had more free time.

So all is well, and hopefully, I can get back to doing more writing more often. Wish me luck!